This week, I started interning in the fashion cupboard at Marie Claire U.K. (!)
My experience so far has been, as you can imagine, every girl's fantasy. I've packed Christian Louboutins, unwrapped Dolce and Gabbanas, and cataloged garments I could only ever dream of wearing (partly because they were $$$ AF and partly because I'm not sample sized).
While I came into the internship with much excitement about the mission I'd be contributing to, I can't deny that multiple viewings of The Devil Wears Prada did NOT magically prepare me for the real life demands of working in fashion.
Lest you desire to be as dazed as I was the first day I stepped into the Blue Fin Building for work, here are my best fashion closet internship tips. Read on for 10 things you'll need to know before you start a fashion closet internship:
1. How to fold clothes—the right way.
I know, I know. So obvious, right?
Still, it had to be said. After all, whether you like it or not, the bulk of your internship will deal with clothes, from unpacking to folding to hanging up to repacking and shipping.
If you can, get some retail experience before you start. It will save you a world of clumpy returns and will make your first day go by a lot faster! (If you can't, no worries; practice at home and you'll be fine.)
2. Where the nearest coffee shop is.
At your internship, you may be the DEG (Designated Errand Girl). Fetching organic lunch from nearby stores may be easy enough, but if you become well known for being quick with your feet, you may even be sent off to places further off for special orders from your boss.
It never hurts to be over prepared, so make sure you know the local transportation (especially the subway) inside out before you start!
3. The names of your supervisors.
If you're in this for networking (which you should always be looking into), this part is crucial. Do your research!
Besides the assistants/directors you will be assigned to, you're going to be interacting with other workers in the building A LOT—especially bike messengers and anyone dealing with mail delivery. Be sure to remember their names and be sweet with them. Apart from this being basic courtesy, these folks will probably be able to help you out with learning the ropes!
4. The correct pronunciation of designer names.
Again, really basic. But you'll want to show that you're knowledgeable and invested in the high fashion world. (Sup-ER-ga, not Super-ga!)
I suggest you read up on and practice saying difficult names out loud. It'll make for a world of difference when you finally have to write them out!
5. How to make a good cup of joe (or tea).
Perfect a good, strong brew and they'll want to keep you on forever. True story.
6. Why dressing smart is better than looking trendy.
You obviously have an interest in fashion if you're interning in the fashion closet, but wearing impractical, stylish clothes will not help you out in the long run. This applies tenfold to footwear, which has to endure long hours of errand runs and almost zero down time.
On my first day, I wore NEW flats that quickly developed into blister-causing torture devices. My feet were literally bleeding by the time that I left, and I learned my lesson: never, ever use an internship to break in new shoes.
7. The benefits of a positive attitude.
Positive energy spreads, negative energy brings everyone down.
When you're going from one arduous task to the other with a cheerful presence and an eager mood, you're bound to get noticed in all the right ways. Don't be sulky; this is your moment to shine as a potential employee!
8. The value of a strong work ethic.
Ask questions! Double check! Don't be shy! Stand out from the sea of regular interns by doing the best work you can do.
In addition to being flexible and zealous, think analytically. Pay attention to feedback you're getting from your supervisors and pick up on the mechanics and rhythm of office life. Soon enough, everything will feel like second nature to you.
9. Your elevator pitch.
Develop, prepare, and rehearse a short (two minute or less) sales pitch that you could deliver to someone straightaway. This is called an elevator pitch, and it could come in handy if you come face-to-face with someone you could see yourself working for whilst interning.
For tips on creating the perfect elevator pitch, check out this article by The Muse!
I'm not going to lie to you—there will be several times during your internship when you will feel like breaking down from the stress and lack of appreciation for your unpaid work.
When doing so, look at the reasons you wanted this internship in the first place. Think what a younger version of yourself might have felt on seeing you in action now, consider it from an outside perspective, and reevaluate. You'll feel that excitement again, and you'll do an even better job than before!
Have you had a internship in the fashion closet before? What are your best fashion closet internship tips? Are you looking for a fashion closet internship? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below!